Recipe Reveal: Dishin’ up cicadas
Cicadas are much more than loud, annoying insects that rear their red-eyed heads above ground once every 17 years. A good source of protein, cicadas can also be transformed into tasty snacks, hearty meals, and delicious desserts.
When you get lemons, make lemonade, so when you get cicadas, why not make cicada dumplings or cicada rhubarb pie?
Yes, I know I complained about cicadas in a previous blog post. But since them, I’ve written a newspaper article about them and spoken to a number of cicada enthusiasts. While I’m still not a convert myself, I’m fearing the little buggers less and less. They haven’t arrived in Connecticut yet, but they will soon.
Kudos to Jenna Jadin and University of Maryland Cicadamaniacs for taking their love of cicadas to the next level. They love them, Sally Field love them, especially dipped in chocolate.
The Cicadamaniacs have created a recipe brochure called Cicada-licious, Cooking and Enjoying Periodical Cicadas, which offers up a bunch of tempting recipes for cicada treats.
It contains good tips about cicadas, how to find the yummy ones, and how to properly prepare the delightful morsels for human consumption. Oh, I can hardly wait! Get the water boiling.
Here are a few recipes from Cicada-licious that sound especially yummy: Chocolate Covered Cicadas, Cicada Dumplings, El Chirper Tacos, Emergence Cookies which look like cicadas emerging from the mud, and Cicada Rhubarb Pie.
Will I actually make any of these recipes if I come across some cicadas? Stay tuned.
Chocolate Covered Cicadas
8 squares of good-quality dark, white, or milk chocolate
30 dry roasted cicadas
1. Roast teneral cicadas for 15 minutes at 225F.
2. Meanwhile, melt chocolate in a double-boiler over low heat. Dip insects in chocolate, place on wax paper and refrigerate until hardened. Yield: 30 cicadas
20 Chinese black mushrooms, soaked and destemmed
6 egg whites
4 oz cicadas, wings removed and pre-boiled for 5 minutes
1/2 oz cooked Chinese ham, cut into 1″-long, 1/16″-thickstrips
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp MSG (optional)
2 cups chicken broth
1. Mince 2 oz cicadas and 1 oz fat pork separately, then mix in bowl. Add 1/8 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp MSG. Stir until firm. Divide into 10 portions for mushroom stuffing.
2. Squeeze excess water from mushrooms. Put in bowl, add a little broth and steam for 30 minutes. Remove and squeeze out excess liquid. Place in dish, stem sides up, and sprinkle with cornstarch. Place one portion cicada stuffing in middle of a mushroom and cover with another mushroom, black side up, to make a stuffed mushroom pouch. Repeat until 10 pouches are done.
3. Mince remaining pork and cicadas separately, then mix in a bowl. Add 1/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp MSG. Stir until firm. Make 20 balls in the shape of a cicada. Beat egg whites. Grease pan. Make a thin small round pancake with one tbsp egg white. Place a cicada ball in the middle and wrap pancake around. Pinch ball to form head and body of the cicada. Fry for 1/2 minute and remove. Put two strips ham in head. Repeat until 20 “cicadas” are made. Put mushroom pouches and shrimp cicadas on plate. Steam for one minute over high heat. Remove and place separately in fureen. Bring stock to boil and add remaining salt.
4. Pour stock slowly into fureen and serve. Yield: Serve 4 to 6.
El Chirper Tacos
2 tablespoons butter or peanut oil
1/2 pound newly-emerged cicadas
3 serrano chilies, raw, finely chopped
1 tomato, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground pepper or to taste
1/2 tsp cumin
3 tsp taco seasoning mix
1 handful cilantro, chopped
Taco shells, to serve
Shredded cheddar cheese
1. Heat the butter or oil in a frying pan and fry the cicadas for 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
2. Remove from pan and roughly chop into 1/4 inch cubes. Place back in pan.
3. Add the chopped onions, chilies, and tomato, and season with salt, and fry for another 5 minutes on medium-low heat.
4. Sprinkle with ground pepper, cumin, and oregano, to taste.
5. Serve in taco shells and garnish with cilantro, sour cream, lettuce, and cheddar cheese. Yield: 2 main course servings.
These should look like cicadas emerging out of a little pile of chunky mud!
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 beaten egg white
1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts (optional)
About 60 parboiled dry roasted cicadas (roast for only 8 minutes so that they retain some moisture)
1. In a large bowl, beat shortening with eggs, the 11/2 cups sugar, cooled chocolate, baking powder, and vanilla until well combined, scraping sides of bowl.
2. Gradually stir in flour till thoroughly combined. Stir in the nuts. Cover and chill for 1-2 hours or until dough is easy to handle.
3. Meanwhile, stir together the 1/3 cup sugar and beaten egg white. Place cicadas on waxed paper; brush with egg white mixture and set aside.
4. Shape dough into 1inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Place a cicada on top of each ball, pressing lightly.
5. Bake in a 375 oven for 8-10 minutes or till edges are set. Transfer to a rack to cool. Yield: 60 cookies.
Cicada Rhubarb Pie
4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup fresh cicadas, washed and any hard parts removed
1 1/3 cups white sugar
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter
1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
2. Combine sugar and flour. Sprinkle 1/4 of it over pastry in pie plate. Heap rhubarb over this mixture. Sprinkle cicadas in amongst the rhubarb. Sprinkle with remaining sugar and flour. Dot with small pieces of butter. Cover with top crust.
3. Place pie on lowest rack in oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and continue baking for 40 to 45 minutes. Yield: Makes 1 pie (8 servings).